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Trump’s Refugee Ban: Sports World Reacts

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Gregg Popovich, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad and others speak out

Trump's Refugee Ban: Sports World Reacts

Ronda Rousey and Steve Kerr are just a few of the people from the sports world to speak out against Donald Trump's refugee ban.

Christian Petersen/Getty, Bob Levey/Getty

Over the weekend, athletes and coaches from a number of sports reacted to Donald Trump’s immigration order, which prevented access to the United States for travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries for the next 90 days.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich compared the ban to the fictional (and incompetent) policemen Keystone Kops. Popovich hasn’t been shy about voicing his opinion on Trump in recent months, saying his big fear in wake of Trump’s election is “we are Rome.”

“As you already know, I have lots of thoughts about what we’ve done to ourselves as a country and what we’ve allowed to happen,” Popovich said. “But we’ll see where this goes. Obviously the roll-out today was Keystone Kops-like by any measure with objectivity. Whether you want to say it’s good or bad is irrelevant. But it was Keystone Kops, and that’s scary.”

Staying in the basketball world, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he’s “completely against what’s happening.” Kerr lost his father, Malcolm Kerr, who was shot and killed by two terrorist gunmen outside of his office in Beirut, Lebanon in 1984.

“I would just say that as someone whose family member was a victim of terrorism, having lost my father, if we’re trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to this country, by really going against the principles of what our country is about and creating fear, it’s the wrong way of going about it. If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror.”

Many athletes took to social media to weigh in on the subject, such as NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr., the WWE’s Sami Zayn, Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah, former NBA player Nazr Mohammed and Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry.

Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made history in 2016 by becoming the first American athlete to wear a hijab at the Olympics and the first American to win a medal while wearing a hijab, tweeted: “Our diversity makes our country strong #NoBanNoWall.” The captain of the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, Michael Bradley, didn’t mince words. He said he is both “sad and embarrassed” about what has happened.

Ronda Rousey also posted a message on Instagram in response to Trump’s immigration policy, less than a week after Rousey brought supplies to protesters at Standing Rock following Trump’s executive orders to approve the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

And although it wasn’t a commentary on the ban, LeBron James took time over the weekend to make a joke about how the NBA All-Star voting system, just like other election processes, can be flawed. 

“I mean, Donald Trump is our president,” the superstar said.  

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